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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The German Saga of Knight Eppela Gaila


Grimm’s Saga No. 130: Eppela Gaila

Not long ago, Nuremberg street urchins still sang this old rhyme:

“Eppela Gaila from Dramout
Always rides on the fourteenth out.”

“The Nuremberg fiend rides out,
Eppela Gaila from Dramout.”

In times of old Eppelin von Gailing lived in Bayreuth near Drameyesel (a very small village parish after Muggendorf). He was a bold knight, who wantonly plundered and pillaged. He was especially inclined to do harm to the Nuremberg townfolk, whom he sought out for special distress and sorrow. But he also understood magic and had a colt that could ride and trot, canter and gallop until it’s hooves leapt from the earth and soared to high rock and crag, or down to river and meadow. And the hoof of his colt never trod on a single blade of grass.

His main estate was near Cliff Gailenreuth, but scattered throughout the region he had other castles and in a flash he could fly like the wind from one fortress to another. Often flying from one side of the mountain to the opposite or even reaching Saint Lorenz in Muggendorf. Nothing could stop his terror in Nuremberg, neither high stone wall nor deep moat. He committed many crimes and seemed unconquerable. But finally, the Nuremberg townsfolk captured him, brought him to the New Market and hanged him on the gallows with his accomplices. The Nuremberg Castle still displays weapons and the wall still shows a hoof print from his horse, which sank into the soft clay when he jumped onto it.


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Monday, April 10, 2017

Fairy Tale of the Resurrected Son

The Son, Resurrected             An Italian Fairy Tale from the Alps


There once was a dragon who loved eating flesh, preferably that of children. Ideally boys, not girls. When he had gobbled up all the boys in the village and from nearby towns, only his own son remained, a boy of four years. One evening the dragon said to his wife: “Tomorrow I will go into the forest to chop wood and will return toward nightfall. Send my dinner to the forest.”  

“And what shall I send you?” asked the dragon wife. “For two years you have only devoured children. Now, only your very own son is left. Maybe you want to eat him?”

“Precisely him, my son.  And my daughter shall bring him to me in the forest.”

The dragon wife promised it and the two went to sleep. 

At dawn the dragon rose and went into the forest. The dragon wife also got up, went to her son’s room, chopped and cut, boiled and roasted. At lunch time she called to her daughter to take the meal to her father in the woods. When the daughter saw her brother in this way, the poor child began to cry. The mother boxed her ears and prepared the basket, placed it on the girls shoulders  and pushed her out of the house.

On the path the girl saw an old woman, it was the Madonna. She said to her, “Where are you going my child with that basket?”   The poor girl did not answer. Instead she placed the basket on the ground and showed the woman its contents.

“You want to bring your brother as meal?” the old woman asked.

“What else can I do?” the girl replied. “Now he is dead. If only I could have saved him! But I didn’t know anything about it.”

“Good, if you do what I say your brother will come back to life.”

“What shall I do? Tell me! If only I could see my brother standing before me again, beautiful and alive!”

“Listen! Leave the basket here, go back home, go into the barn, take the calf and bring it here.”

The girl did what the old woman commanded. One-half hour later she returned with the calf. The woman took one piece after another, put them back together and shaped the dead child. Then she touched its forehead and said “Go my dear son, return to the village. There you will find good people who will care for you. And always remember your sister who loves you!” The boy hugged his sister and left. The Madonna touched the calf and it fell into pieces.

The girl brought the food to her father. He thought the meat very tasty, ate with a healthy appetite and didn’t notice anything. But since then the dragon and dragon wife could no longer sleep because every night a voice below the window sang:

My mother killed me,
My sister carried me,
My father ate me,

Cucuck, Cucuck! And I am still alive!



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